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(b. Oct. 15, 1931, Dhanushkodi, Tamil Nadu), Dr.

Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Ab

dul Kalam, , eminent defence scientist, and the man responsible for building Ind
ia's missile muscle. Dr. Kalam was India's eleventh president from 2002 to 2007.

Kalam was born to a Tamil Muslim family. His father rented boats to fishermen to
pay his school fees at St. Joseph's College, Tiruchirapalli. After completing s
chool, Kalam studied aeronautical engineering at the Madras Institute of Technol
ogy. He began his career in 1958, at the Defence

Research and Development Organization (DRDO). From there, in 1962, he moved on t

o the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), where he led several landmark p
rojects, includingone to develop India's first indigenous Satellite Launch Vehic
le (SLV-III), with which the 35-kg Rohini I satellite was positioned in the near
earth orbit in July 1980, making India one of the world's few developing countr
ies to join the space club.

After 19 years at ISRO, Kalam returned to the DRDO to take charge of India's Int
egrated Guided Missile Development Programme in 1982. Under his leadership, ISRO
indigenously developed and operationalized several strategic short- and interme
diate-range ballistic missiles, including Agni and Prithvi. Due to his success i
n consolidating India's missile repertoire, he is often referred to as the "Miss
ile Man of India".

In 1998, Kalam was awarded the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian award. He
was earlier awarded the Padma Vibhushan (1990) and Padma Bhushan (1981).

From 1992 to 1999, Kalam was scientific adviserto the Department of Defence Rese
arch and Development, and later principal scientific adviser to the Government o
f India from 1999 to 2001. Among his various visionary strategies and missions i
n this period were the weaponization of strategic missile systems, the self-reli
ance of defence systems (through missionprojects such as development of light co
mbat aircraft), and the Pokhran II nuclear tests, rendering India a nuclear weap
on state. Kalam was also ex-officio chairman of the Scientific Advisory Committe
e to the Cabinet and led the formulation of the India Millennium Mission 2020. A
s chairman of the Technology Information Forecasting and Assessment Council, he
helped draw up "Technology Vision 2020", a road map to transition India from dev
eloping to developed nation. Appointed professor of technology

A multifaceted personality, Kalam has written several books, including India 20

20: A Vision for the New Millennium (2002), Ignited Minds: Unleashing the Power
within India (2003), and the autobiographical Wings of Fire (1999), which have b
een widely acclaimed and translated into several languages. He is accomplished a
t playing the rudra veena and is interested in poetry, especially that of poet-s
aint Tiruvalluvar and nationalist writer Subrahmanya C. Bharati. In fact, Kalam
too has a collection of poems to his credit, titled The Life Tree (2005). Kalam
has received honorary doctorates from 30 universities and institutions.